Course Outline – History
The course aims to extend and deepen students’ chronological knowledge and understanding of British and world history, providing a well-informed context for wider learning. Students learn to identify significant events, make connections, draw contrasts, and analyse trends within periods and over long arcs of time. They are taught to use historical terms and concepts in increasingly sophisticated ways. Students are encouraged to pursue historically valid enquiries including some they have framed themselves, and create relevant, structured and evidentially supported accounts in response. They gain an understanding of how different types of historical sources are used to make historical claims and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.
The importance of GCSE history is to not just learn about history, but learn from history. Understanding past events and people and their significance gives students a better understanding of the world in which we live. Learning how things came to be as they are enhances our appreciation of the political, economic, social and cultural organisation of our own and other countries. It teaches us who we are and gives insight into the principles and values on which this is based. It explains age-old conflicts, demonstrates the power of ideas and gives us the big picture of how change has proved possible in the past and may be possible in the future. History students gain valuable skills of organisation and analysis. Their critical abilities are sharpened and they learn to write stylishly and to argue effectively.
A Level History is designed to help students understand the significance of historical events, the role of individuals in history and the nature of change over time both long term (normally at least 100 years) and short term, such as how developments affect different groups within their societies. A Level History will help students gain a deeper understanding of the past through a range of historical perspectives, such as cultural, economic, ethnic, political, religious, social or technological. Students will also develop an understanding of the links between these perspectives as well as appreciating developments relating to the perspectives over time.
Co-curriculum and Extracurricular Activities
As well as providing excellent academic History tuition, the department also offers a variety of extracurricular and co-curricular activities. These activities help students make sense of, and take responsibility for, their own learning and instil transferable interpersonal skills such as team working, time-management and organisational skills. Some of these groups and activities include:
- Year 9 – Dora Love Prize, University of Essex (our students won this in 2020)
- Historical fiction book club for all Years
- Years 7 to 9 – the Historical Association historical fiction writing competition
- Years 12 and 13 – the Historical Association “The Great Debate” competition
- Year 11 – one to one mentoring run by Year 12 subject prefects
The department is housed in well-equipped, light and airy classrooms, each with an interactive white board and visualiser.
Opportunities for Further Study and Destinations
The wide range of skills developed by History students are highly valued and create opportunities for many careers. The critical analysis of evidence and the ability to argue are an excellent preparation for business, administration and politics. The skills of the historian are also particularly suited to studying Law. History can be used directly in teaching, museum and heritage work and the tourist industry. It is also a popular theme in film and television. Several past students work as historians in the media, researching information, costume and period effects, or in journalism. History enables the budding journalist to write well and equips them with a wealth of good examples. The ability to analyse evidence, communicate effectively and structure an argument is also highly valued in many scientific careers.